Kathmandu & Pokhara, Nepal | Fall 2017
We took the bus from Kathmandu to Pokhara and return. It’s a beautiful drive, but it’s SLOW. It took us about 8 hours to drive about 125 miles - it might not look far on the map, but traffic and road conditions are game changers. Flying was not an option for our budget, but if we return we will definitely choose to fly.
From Kathmandu to Pokhara we took the Greenline Bus. The pick up and ticket counter location was close to our hotel, and we had read good reviews. We booked the day prior to the trip and got the last few seats. There was almost no legroom, but luckily we had the entire last row to ourselves so we were able sit sideways and laydown. Oh, and the bus was freezing - so have your down jacket handy. The driver was safe and cautious which was my main concern as there are many accidents along the route.
For the return trip we booked through Jagadamba Travels. The bus was much more comfortable and the price was the same as greenline. The seats were dated but wide and cushioned with decent leg room. The driver was also safe, and although the drive was nerve racking along the winding roads and intense dropoffs we made it back in one piece. We had gone to the greenline ticket shop in Pokhara to book our tickets and they recommended Jagadamba. Both companies stopped a few times along the route for toilet breaks, and provided a buffet style lunch at a stop about halfway through the drive.
We stayed at Oasis Kathmandu Hotel when we arrived in Nepal. It was a very clean and well run hotel in the center of Thamel, a good hotel if you’re looking for a reliable place to start your trip.
Our favorite spots to eat were Western Tandoori and Naan House and Rosemary Kitchen and Coffee Shop. Western Tandoori was a super affordable spot for fresh Naan made as you order with simple delicious curries. Rosemary Kitchen and Coffee Shop is tucked away from the insanity of Themal in a little courtyard, this is a great place for any meal. We went a few times and enjoyed both the local and western food.
We spent a lot of time going from shop to shop looking for gear to rent and buy. We ended up getting most items from International Sports Wear, as they were the only spot we found that had two packs for us to rent. The quality of their sleeping bags was great, but the other equipment was just ok. The packs were very uncomfortable, and one of my poles broke within the first few hours of the trek, although Dan's poles held up well.
We stayed at Pokhara Choice Inn for 2 nights before our trek and several after. It was in a great location with clean spacious rooms with hot water, AC, wifi and a great breakfast. The staff was generous and kind, and willing to store our excess luggage for 10 days while on the trek.
There are a ton of options for western and local food in Pokhara, it’s quite the little tourist hub. If you’re craving something fresh, Fresh Elements was great. Little windows had great service, good food, milkshakes and coffee. Himalayan Java Coffee was a nice place to work or read, and had quite indulgent coconut shakes.
We spent an afternoon at Jiva Spa, for massage treatments and lunch and I highly recommend it! The staff was wonderful, and the space was peaceful and relaxing.